Move over, chicken noodle soup — there's a newer, trendier health food in town.
In today's increasingly health-conscious world, greasy burgers and fries just don't cut it. Nowadays, the quest for nutritional options has spurred the latest food trends, from green juices and açai bowls to the Mediterranean diet and "GF" (gluten-free) regimens.
What are people ordering now? Bone broth.
Bone broth, which has gained popularity in the last year, is made by simmering animal bones with vinegar and various vegetables and herbs.
It may sound gross, but don't let the name throw you off.
"If you explain that it's sort of like a chicken stock that's made with better quality ingredients and cooked for a much longer time, then people start to understand what it really is," says Jordan Feldman, who co-founded Springbone Kitchen, a new restaurant in Greenwich Village that focuses its menu on the dish.
"Nobody has tasted it and said, 'This is disgusting,'" he explains. "As soon as you take a taste, it's a familiar flavor."
Bone broth is hailed as a panacea for all kinds of ailments, including joint aches, sore muscles and digestive woes. It even boasts anti-aging properties — bone broth's all-star ingredient is collagen, a protein that's supposed to reduce wrinkles and get rid of cellulite.
"The claim is that, by drinking the broth, you get the collagen attached to the bones and ligaments in it," says Lisa Sasson, clinical associate professor of nutrition at NYU Steinhardt.
But the science behind this doesn't necessarily add up, she continues. "It's not like we consume collagen and it becomes collagen in our body; it's broken down into amino acids that the body is going to use wherever it needs building blocks or protein."
Though bone broth might not lead straight to the Fountain of Youth, Sasson adds that the minerals and electrolytes in it still provide nutritional value. "It's healthy," she says. "It's just not magical."
In fact, Feldman decided to open Springbone Kitchen after discovering bone broth's health benefits for himself. After injuring his knee, he came across an article about the dish. "I was kind of skeptical, but I gave it a try," he says. "Within a couple weeks, my knee honestly started getting a whole lot better. I was kind of sold from that point forward."
You can decide on bone broth's merits for yourself by making it in your own kitchen. We've got you covered with a recipe for homemade chicken bone broth — check it out below.
What to try at Springbone Kitchen
Served in coffee cups, the restaurant's bone broth is a perfect meal if you're looking for something to consume on the go. For a hearty bone broth without an overpowering taste, try Springbone Kitchen's Chakra, a chicken-based broth that blends sweet potato with turmeric for a mild but creamy concoction. You can also customize your own mix with an assortment of meats, vegetables and exotic add-ins like kelp flakes and golden milk, a liquid made from turmeric and coconut milk. And for the non-meat eaters, the restaurant offers a vegan-friendly seaweed miso broth.
Chicken bone broth recipe to yield 2 gallons of broth:
6 lbs of chicken bones (mix of feet, necks, frames and wing tips is ideal)
4 large carrots
3 large onions
1 clove smashed garlic
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 small bunch french thyme
Salt to taste
1. Roast bones at 400 until brown
2. Place bones, vegetables and vinegar in stock pot; cover with water
3. Bring to a rolling boil, then reduce to a simmer
4. Simmer for 12-24 hours
5. Add fresh thyme for the last hour
7. Salt to taste
For a nourishing “breakfast in a cup,” blend 1 cup of the chicken broth with 1/4 cup of coconut milk and freshly grated turmeric, says Feldman. "The protein of the broth, healthy fat from the coconut milk and anti-inflammatory power of turmeric combine for a real breakfast of champions."
Follow Chloe Tsang on Twitter @itschloet